In our line of work, we see traumatic injuries every day. Whether from a car crash, dog bite, or workplace injury, many of our clients have required blood transfusions after their injury. Take it from us – not only is donating blood important, but it saves lives every single day.

Let’s look at how a blood transfusion works, the most common reasons people need them, and what you can do to help.

What is a blood transfusion?

A blood transfusion is a routine medical procedure where donated blood is provided to a patient. While this sounds simple enough, there are very specific ways that blood types must be matched to ensure a safe transfusion.

For example, people with O negative blood are referred to as “universal donors” because their blood can be used in transfusions for any blood type. On the other hand, people with AB positive blood can only donate to people with the AB positive blood.

When is a blood transfusion necessary?

Blood transfusions can be necessary for many reasons – surgery, injuries, or to fight diseases and bleeding disorders.

Blood itself has several components, including:

  • Red blood cells that carry oxygen and help remove waste products
  • White blood cells that help your body fight against infections
  • Plasma, the liquid part of your blood, which can help boost a person’s blood volume
  • Platelets that help your blood clot properly

Because blood has many jobs, there are several reasons why someone may require a blood transfusion. Sometimes it is used to treat blood disorders, such as sickle cell anaemia. Blood transfusions have even been used to help cancer patients. The most common reason for a blood transfusion, however, is to replace lost blood.

In fact, a car crash victim may require as many as 100 units of blood to survive.

How can you help?

A blood transfusion occurs every two seconds. While researchers are working to develop artificial blood, donations are still the only solution to provide transfusions.

If you’d like to do your part and make a blood donation, you can contact The Red Cross to find a blood drive near you.